Natural flavonoids as potential multifunctional agents in prevention of diabetic cataract
Cataract is one of the earliest secondary complications of diabetes mellitus. The lens is a closed system with limited capability to repair or regenerate itself. Current evidence supports the view that cataractogenesis is a multifactorial process. Mechanisms related to glucose toxicity, namely oxidative stress, processes of non-enzymatic glycation and enhanced polyol pathway significantly contribute to the development of eye lens opacity under conditions of diabetes. There is an urgent need for inexpensive, non-surgical approaches to the treatment of cataract. Recently, considerable attention has been devoted to the search for phytochemical therapeutics. Several pharmacological actions of natural flavonoids may operate in the prevention of cataract since flavonoids are capable of affecting multiple mechanisms or etiological factors responsible for the development of diabetic cataract. In the present paper, natural flavonoids are reviewed as potential agents that could reduce the risk of cataract formation via affecting multiple pathways pertinent to eye lens opacification. In addition, the bioavailability of flavonoids for the lens is considered.
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